Don’t Be Afraid of Your Food

“You know what I love about you, Deb?  It’s that you EAT. You’re a trainer and you EAT like the rest of us, none of this ‘my body is a temple’ BS.”  This is what my friend says to me on a regular basis, but the truth is I like many people, have a love affair with food.  And I would argue that you should love food.  I mean think about it: you wouldn’t be angry, judgmental or upset by the fact that your car needs fuel would you?  But you also know that if you consistently put crappy fuel in a race car, it is not going to perform well.

From a divine design point of view, it’s simply beautiful the way we are built.  Think about it, you are required to eat several times a day.  That means that naturally you are taking breaks throughout the day to check in with yourself, to pause and be present, to nourish you own body and mind and to share that time with those close to and around you.  Also the fact that you are going to need to eat again gives you an infinite amount of chances to make better choices.  So you pigged out at your friend’s birthday party, so what?  Move on, be present and eat balanced the next time around.  It’s not necessary to starve yourself on the next meal nor is it a good idea to eat birthday cake from that day forward.  Was it a joyful occasion to share with your friend?  Of course!  So, keep the joy, ditch the control and judgment, move forward and now fill the mouth with nutrient rich, appropriately portioned deliciousness.

When it comes down to it, many people are afraid of their food.  And generally speaking we fall into two camps: one, those who consume way too much and two, those who count every calorie and control every mouthful.  Either way, the mind is occupied and consumed daily with choices about sustenance.  Wouldn’t it be nice to achieve a measure of balance through knowledge and behavioral adjustments such that the fear vanishes, the controls free up and you are able to sustain your weight and optimize your health without too much thought?

The word, “Diet” needs to change in people’s conception. I was once at a lecture given by Mark MacDonald, author of a great nutrition book called Body Confidence, and he asked only those in the audience who had never been on a diet to raise their hands.  My friend and fellow trainer and I were the only ones in an entire room to do so.  The speaker, knowing the secret ahead of time asked my friend, “How is this possible?”  My friend replied that to him the word “diet” meant the food choices you make over a lifetime, not a highly restricted short duration format.  And he added, “Look if it’s the playoffs and I eat pizza and beer for seven nights in a row, I know that at some point I have to stop doing that.  If some people call it a diet because I can’t eat pizza and beer every day of my life, well, then I guess I’m on a diet.”

I work with people via empowerment.  The first step is to let go of your fear and inwardly directed hostility.  The second is to begin to understand how to maximize nutrient intake at every meal in a way that you can simply look at your plate and know you’re balanced or not.  The third is to eat foods that you find enjoyable so that a meal becomes an enrichment of your day.  That is not to say, that I advocate whatever you want in whatever quantity you want all the time.  But it is most definitely possible to change your mindset and life that food becomes your friend and not your enemy.

I am proud to say “I love food and it makes my body and mind happy!”

Grilled Salmon Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper

Check out this recipe I posted yesterday for a quick, balanced and yummy salmon dinner!

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